NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. – In a year like no other, the Polar Plunge will be one like never before.
Due to COVID-19, Special Olympics Virginia can’t hold an in-person event, so in 2021, everyone can take the plunge into their own hands.
“The really important thing this year, we feel, is that we keep our athletes and families and volunteers engaged," said Nancy Morehouse, the director of the southwest region for Special Olympics Virginia.
The Polar Plunge is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser to support its more than 23,000 athletes.
“Our athletes very much need the engagement with the community and know that people care," said Morehouse.
Coach Matt Camire said that now more than ever, this fundraiser can help keep the programs alive for the athletes.. in the future.. while they’ve had to switch to virtual hangouts and socially distant bocce ball.
“Our sports have shut down like many across the entire country and the world,” said Camire. “All of our programs are free. All of the Special Olympics programs are free, so that’s why fundraising is really crucial right now so when we are able to get back up and running, we can continue these sports, these programs, and provide a great time, a great experience for athletes.”
Back in February before the pandemic hit, 10 News helped raise about $8,500 for Special Olympics Virginia during the plunge at Bisset Park in Radford.
In total, the plunge raised $61,000 in Southwest Virginia and about $1.5 million statewide. In 2021, the goal is to raise $700,000.
Grab some friends, family members or colleagues and plunge in a neighbor’s pool or lounge in a hot tub. It’s up to you!
“This year, we’re not going to judge anybody. We’re just going let everybody decide how they’re going to do the plunge," said Morehouse.
Take photos and videos of your plunge and post them on social media with the hashtag #plungeyourway.
The weeklong plunge celebration will wrap up with a virtual event ceremony on Saturday, February 6.
No matter how you participate, there’s still a chance to have some frigid fun.
To learn more or to register, click here.